Culture change is a human experience. It’s not just a business imperative, as it has been viewed for decades, as reflected in the following examples. “If we’re going to grow, we have to change the culture,” or “This culture is toxic, and it is affecting our customer service.” These examples reflect a perspective that is short-sighted and can be detrimental to the success of your business and employees. For culture change to have a chance of becoming contagious, leaders should more deeply understand how business needs and the human experience of change can work in concert. Together, these two can help navigate change pitfalls. More on those in a moment.
“Experience” and “learning” are two powerful words that shape and strengthen personal and professional accountability, effectiveness, and success. These two words are close to my heart and mind. I firmly believe that they are of utmost importance in today’s VUCA world.1 The more we can experience and learn, the better we can adapt and explore current and future situations.
The above holds true for the consulting world, too. All client projects or contracts are an experiential learning curve for consultants, as each engagement hones the consulting growth mindset. Effective utilization of this mindset facilitates better client service and a successful consulting engagement.
Establishing and maintaining a strong workplace culture is a major undertaking for any organization. But when your organization grows 300 percent in the space of a year, holding onto the culture and values that led to such success becomes an uphill battle. That’s the challenge that Ron Storn, VP of People at Lyft, took on when he joined the company—how do you keep values alive while your organization is growing at a dizzying rate?
Blatant discrimination is now a much rarer phenomenon in the workplace than it used to be. Since the introduction of modern legislative policies (i.e., affirmative action in the USA and the Employment Equity Act in Canada), along with the increased awareness of social justice, issues pertaining to systematic or blatant discrimination in the workplace have decreased in the last decades.1
When called upon to institute major organizational transitions, business leaders need help navigating the process of implementing cultural change. Consequently, they call upon people from a wide array of disciplines (change management, project management, organizational design, IT, HR, leadership development, strategic planning, business relationship management, etc.) to fulfill this need. I refer to the professionals who provide this guidance as “change practitioners,” regardless of what discipline they represent or whether they operate as internal employees or external consultants.